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South Wales signal workers on strike
RMT signal workers are striking for a second six-day period in South Wales and the Marches in protest at attempts by management to ignore negotiated agreements. New rosters, imposed without union agreement, would require signallers in the new South Wales Control Centre (SWCC) to work an extra 42 days a year without extra pay and cause massive disruption to the lives of the workers by moving from 12 to 8 hour shifts.
Over 30 people attended the SWCC picket line at the start of this week's strike, including a delegation from the West Midlands and Cardiff trades council members who attended to offer solidarity.
One RMT member from Wolverhampton said: "Network Rail are not going to try to impose this in just one part of the country. If they get away with it here then they'll come for our rosters and everybody else's too."
Cardiff Rail RMT branch secretary Greg Harrison said: "The company has adopted this bully-boy approach to try and teach the union the lesson that they can do whatever they want.
"The rock-solid strike by our members has sent them a rather different message."
The strike has closed down many lines and caused a severe headache for management, who have disgracefully put lives at risk by drafting in managers from around the country with very little training to take the place of the signallers.
Training for each line usually takes a minimum of three months to complete.
There's a strong desire on the part of the members to widen the scope of the strike if Network Rail refuse to negotiate.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow, speaking at a meeting in support of the strikers in Cardiff on 4 January, said: "If Network Rail bring in managers from Scotland and the North of England to try and break our members' resolve then maybe we'll have to ballot our members in those parts of the country and challenge Network Rail nationally.
"And perhaps, as well, we should include in the ballot those infrastructure workers who face losing their jobs at the same time as signallers are being pressured to take up infrastructure work."
- The current strike continues until midnight on 9 January.
In The Socialist 6 January 2010:
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